By Nomi Prins, Editor, Inside Wall Street with Nomi Prins
If you’ve been following me the past two weeks, you know I’ve been pounding the table about a major opportunity in the energy markets.
We’re sitting on a solution to limitless energy… affordable power bills… infinite desalinated drinking water… cleaner air… energy security… national security… new mineral access… and thousands of new jobs.
If that all sounds too good to be true, I don’t blame you.
But as I showed this week, “SMR” is making all of this possible. And only one company has the license to produce it in America.
On Wednesday night, I held a major briefing to explain what this opportunity is… and my playbook for profiting from it. It’s called Power Shift 2023.
More than 5,000 people tuned in. And I got a ton of questions during my Q&A session.
So in today’s Inside Wall Street, I want to address some of the more pressing questions that came up – including details I didn’t have time to share at Wednesday’s briefing.
If you haven’t seen it yet, click here to watch the replay.
And let’s get to your questions…
Question: “Nomi, the potential for ‘SMR’ to replace antiquated coal-powered plants seems gigantic here in the U.S. Is there additional room for growth with our allies overseas?”
The company I mentioned during my Power Shift briefing has already signed multiple international contracts with U.S. allies. That includes Indonesia, Canada, Japan, Poland, and the Czech Republic.
Now, as some folks might have guessed, “SMR” stands for “small modular reactor.” It’s a cleaner and smarter solution to today’s bulky nuclear power plants.
I know nuclear power gets a bad rap. And there’s a lot of misinformation out there about nuclear energy.
Folks who let those fears drive their investment decisions are setting themselves up for major disappointment. I don’t do that for my readers.
World governments are in a war against carbon emissions. And they’re pulling no stops in paying for it. Some estimates put the price tag at $131 trillion to meet global carbon-free energy goals.
So the opportunity here is massive. And the blowback from the Ukraine war isn’t making things easier.
One example is Germany, the world’s fourth-largest economy. You can think about it like the “California of the European Union.”
Gas and electricity bills have doubled in Germany. So this so-called “Green” country is turning on old coal plants that were scheduled for permanent closure.
People are furious.
Among them is Greta Thunberg, the young environmental activist and poster child of the green movement. She just spoke out against Germany’s decision to replace nuclear power with coal.
And Germany is listening. Like our own politicians, they pretty much have no choice.
As energy costs skyrocket, companies are starting to halt manufacturing in Germany because they can’t afford power.
And now, they’re pulling a move very similar to California’s.
See, after Fukushima, Germany shut down eight of its 11 nuclear reactors in 2011. But they kept three running until last September, when they announced those would be shut off too.
But then Putin shut off the gas, and Germany was forced to keep those three remaining reactors turned on.
And the list of countries doing this grows almost by the day.
Take France, for instance. Emmanuel Macron, the president, announced plans to add 14 new reactors in what he calls “the rebirth of France’s nuclear industry.”
But it’s not just France that’s seeing a rebirth. All in all, we’re looking at a revival of nuclear energy globally.
That’s because nuclear checks all the boxes. It’s safe. It’s reliable. It’s cheap. It’s abundant. It’s clean. And it has far greater advantages than any other source of energy by a long shot.
That includes fossil fuels.
The concentration of energy in uranium – the basic building block of nuclear energy – is more than 1 million times oil and two million times coal.
Source: Office of Nuclear Energy
Best of all, there aren’t any limitations on scale. You can use it anywhere.
According to the Office of Nuclear Energy, nuclear power has the highest capacity factor of any power by far at 92.5%.
Source: Office of Nuclear Energy
That means nuclear power plants produce maximum power more than 92% of the time during the year.
It’s also why more and more countries are looking at the potential of a nuclear future.
For example, the United Kingdom recently announced plans to triple its nuclear power generation capacity by 2050. That would entail eight more nuclear reactors, which could be approved on existing sites.
The U.K. is Europe’s second-biggest economy, so that’s no minor development. It will also allow the country to generate about a quarter of its electricity from nuclear power.
And then there’s Japan. They had all but forsaken nuclear energy after Fukushima. But now Prime Minister Kishida says the Japanese energy situation has “drastically changed” after the Ukraine invasion.
And in a plan to restore his country as a nuclear powerhouse, Japan will be restarting old reactors AND building new ones.
South Korea is getting in on it, too. They have plans for six new nuclear plants by 2036. And India is planning to triple its nuclear power over the next decade.
Bloomberg calls it a revival of nuclear power in Asia.
All told, the World Nuclear Association reports up to 50 different nations are expanding their nuclear programs.
Out of all of them, China takes the cake.
It set aside $440 billion for its nuclear program. And China’s president, Xi Jinping, is planning to build 150 new reactors by 2037. That’s more than the rest of the world has built in the last 35 years.
But get this…
The United States is seventh in line for planned new nuclear plants. Well behind China and Russia. And this position is totally unacceptable to the U.S. Department of Energy.
That is why they’ve pledged $1.4 billion to the tiny firm I call “The Next Exxon.”
For reasons I outlined at my Power Shift briefing, the only realistic solution to permanent energy independence – on schedule – is “SMR.”
And The Next Exxon is in prime position to profit.
They have robust supply chains already in place. They also have the most advanced, and safest, “SMR” technology in the world. And they have billions in government incentives.
That’s why, as I told folks on Wednesday, I believe The Next Exxon could hand early investors up to 20x their money.
But there isn’t much time left to get in before this story is all over the mainstream news. As I write, Bill S.1111 is poised to set this power shift in motion.
I’d hate for any of my readers to look back knowing they had a chance to get in for dollars per share… and didn’t take it.
Question: “I love the sound of these smaller reactors, but what about the nuclear waste issue? Is that still a problem?”
Great question. When it comes to nuclear waste, “SMR” works the same as modern “Gen 3” plants. And that’s actually a good thing.
Because, despite all our ideas about spent nuclear fuel, it’s nothing like the bubbling green goo we associate with Homer Simpson and Hollywood TV.
The volume of nuclear waste in our country is tiny.
Even if the U.S. was completely nuclear-powered, it would stack up to a few rooms worth of total waste. A 2-bedroom apartment could hold it all.
The waste is safely stored in concrete-reinforced steel containers. And it’s buried deep underground in the middle of the desert.
Plus, all of this is approved by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). The NRC is the U.S. government’s independent regulatory agency. It’s the same agency overseeing the SMR firm I told folks about on Wednesday.
In other words, it’s all considered safe by the NRC. They’re the ones who wrote all the rules. And with no nuclear waste disasters in 50 years, this system has proven to work.
I also think it’s important to consider a few key questions that often go unaddressed in the nuclear waste debate.
Specifically, “How much waste does nuclear create?” and “How long before it’s no longer dangerous?”
First of all, like I said above, nuclear fuel is very energy dense. This means you don’t need a whole lot of it to produce huge quantities of power. Especially when compared to other energy sources like coal and gas.
It also means that a relatively small amount of waste is created in the process.
For example, a typical nuclear power station produces one gigawatt (GW) of power per year, on average. That’s enough to meet the electricity needs of more than a million people.
But it produces only three cubic meters of high-level waste per year. And it produces no direct carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
This waste is kept in wet storage facilities known as spent fuel pools for up to 20 years. After that, it goes into large concrete-steel silos, or dry casks, awaiting permanent disposal in an underground geological repository.
For perspective, a coal-powered plant that generates one GW of power produces roughly 300,000 cubic meters of toxic ash waste each year. And more than 6 million tons of CO2.
Most power plants dispose of the ash waste in surface impoundments or landfills. Others (especially in developing countries) may discharge it into a nearby waterway under the plant’s water discharge permit.
Note that “high-level” nuclear waste just means it’s highly contaminated, mostly coming from used (or spent) nuclear fuel. And it’s important to underscore that this type of nuclear waste makes up only 3% of the total waste volume.
In fact, in France, where fuel is reprocessed, just 0.2% of all radioactive waste by volume is classified as high-level. Keep in mind that France generates a larger percentage of its electricity from nuclear power than any other country worldwide.
Lightly contaminated items (with only 1% of the total radioactivity), such as tools and work clothing, make up the vast majority of the nuclear waste (about 90%). They are routinely discarded in near-surface disposal facilities due to their low (and short-lasting) radioactivity.
Now, none of this is to say that coming up with appropriate disposal solutions for nuclear waste shouldn’t be at the top of the industry’s list of priorities.
But while it’s still very much a work in progress, things are starting to fall into place.
Case in point: nuclear fuel recycling.
Yes, you read that right. Most of the material in used nuclear fuel can be recycled.
And while some nations (most notably the U.S.) continue to treat used nuclear fuel as waste, many others have started recycling it to generate more power. These include France, Russia, and Japan.
Advanced reactor designs have already been developed that can consume or run on used nuclear fuel. As more of these efforts become successful, it will be a game-changer for the industry.
That’s why I’m so excited about the opportunity in front of us today. Positive changes are coming for the nuclear power industry in the U.S. and worldwide.
And with The Next Exxon, folks have a chance at what could be life-changing gains.
Question: “Nomi, I know you recently visited Australia, a major uranium supplier on the world stage. How do you see that relationship playing into today’s ‘SMR’ opportunity?”
You’re totally right. Australia is already a powerhouse uranium producer. And right now, there is some major buzz going on there in the uranium space.
While I was in Perth earlier this year, I spent several hours meeting with a handful of uranium firms. (I shared some of my findings with readers of my Energy Distortion Monitor advisory. Subscribers can watch the video here.)
Nomi in downtown Perth, before going into meetings with company executives
Many of these companies have worked together in the uranium space since the 1990s. But now, the geopolitical situation is tilting even further in Australia’s favor.
That’s because nearly half of the world’s uranium comes from Kazakhstan. And given their trading relationships with Russia and China, this presents a serious risk to the U.S. and our allies.
So we’re looking abroad for other sources outside Kazakhstan.
As regular readers know, the Inflation Reduction Act favors agreements with FTA – or free trade partners – like Australia.
All of this is why I’m keeping a close eye on uranium producers like the ones I met with in Australia.
Question: “Can I still watch your event if I missed it last night?”
Absolutely. My team just posted the official replay.
We understand life gets busy, and many people couldn’t make it to the live showing.
Given the gravity of this moment… and with $4 trillion set to flood into the ‘SMR’ sector, where a single firm owns the license to operate in the U.S…
We’ve made it very easy to watch the replay. Click right here to stream it.
Just keep in mind, my publisher told me this will only be available for a limited time.
And that’s all for this week’s mailbag!
If I didn’t get to your question this week, look out for my response in a future Friday mailbag edition.
I do my best to respond to as many of your questions and comments as I can. Just remember, I can’t give personal investment advice.
And if there are any other topics you’d like me to write about, I’d love to hear from you. You can write me at [email protected].
Happy investing… and have a fantastic weekend!
Editor, Inside Wall Street with Nomi Prins